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Open Access Research article

Changes of empathy in medical college and medical school students: 1-year follow up study

Minha Hong12, Won Hye Lee2, Jae Hyun Park3, Tai Young Yoon4, Duk Soo Moon12, Sang Min Lee12 and Geon Ho Bahn1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neuropsychiatry, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi-Dong, Dong Dae Moon-Gu, 130-702, Seoul, South Korea

2 Department of Medicine, Graduate School, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi-Dong, Dong Dae Moon-Gu, 130-702, Seoul, South Korea

3 Department of Medical Education, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi-Dong, Dong Dae Moon-Gu, 130-702, Seoul, South Korea

4 Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi-Dong, Dong Dae Moon-Gu, 130-702, Seoul, South Korea

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BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:122  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-122

Published: 17 December 2012

Abstract

Background

This study aims to determine the correlation between medical education systems, medical college (MC) and medical school (MS), and empathy by investigating the changes in empathy among students with each additional year of medical education.

Methods

The subjects were MC and MS students who had participated in the same study the previous year. All participants completed the same self-report instruments: a questionnaire on sociodemographic characteristics, and the Korean edition of the Student Version of the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE-S-K), Among 334 students, the final analysis was conducted on the data provided by 113 MC and 120 MS students, excluding 101 with incomplete data.

Results

The age and sex did not affect the changes in empathy. Though the JSE-S-K score of MS was significantly higher than that of MC in initial investigation, this study found no difference of empathy between MC and MS.

Conclusion

Empathy increased significantly after one year of medical education. The difference between two education systems, MC and MS, did not affect the changes in empathy.

Keywords:
Empathy; Medical college; Medical school; Medical education